Gareth Bryant

Gareth Bryant

Gareth is Scene Magazine's editor.

Wednesday, 04 May 2011 12:15

Mind Over Matter

Are Coming For You

It has been a busy few months for the Sydney rap crew Mind Over Matter, and now they’re really in the thick of it as they tour the country.

From the start when the duo of Smiles and Willow entered a ‘Battle of the Bands’ contest in 2003, to their 2006 Mixtape nomination on ozhiphop.com, it has all added to the duo’s cache, in turn helping them earn their stripes. â€œI guess those two things were career boosters, and it all adds up,” says Smiles. And from somewhat humble beginnings, the Sydney pair have come into their own, supporting current darling act of Australian hip hop, Bliss N Eso. “Yeah, that really didn’t hurt us.”

Other big note developments for the crew were supporting Method Man and Redman on their last Australian tour, which was a surreal experience for Mind Over Matter. â€œMost of the time after a gig we’re really professional, trying to sell CDs and move merchandise, but at that tour, we just grabbed two jugs of beer and went into the audience to enjoy the show.” A full circle Mind Over Matter it would seem. In stark contrast to the divisive and combative US hip hop market, the homegrown scene is much more of a community. â€œIn the US, there is a lot of fracturing, but here it’s good. Local artists that are making waves are Phatchance, as well as big names such as Drapht.” Sydney and Melbourne seem to be the temperate climate for these sorts of goodies to grow, but overall it seems to be taking off everywhere. “Everyone who raps knows everybody else who raps; I’m a big fan of the local stuff.”

But it’s not all handholding and Kumbaya sing-a-longs – “there’s still some competition, but it’s definitely more supportive, it’s just a smaller, humbler scene”.

Attention turns to their new album, ‘Just Like Fireworks’, which is a creative leap for Mind Over Matter, with a greater focus on live instrumentation – cellists, live drums, vocalists. â€œWe’ve upped everything, we went through over 5,000 beats to choose which ones we wanted to use.”

It’s this sort of professionalism and commitment to the craft that will increase both their local and international fanbase as well as earn the credibility so many local acts need. In the tradition of all the great hip hop albums of yesteryear, the album features collaborations with other artists. In particular is John Reichardt, who played guitar on the record - “he’s a name to watch”. Other special guests will be well known amongst urban aficionados – Vida-Sunshyne, Ernst Carter Jnr and Drakezilla to name a few.

The lead single, ‘Rappers in Wonderland’ was recently been added to the rotation on Triple J: “That didn’t hurt,” laughs Smiles. It’s an upbeat number, and shows how much fun Willow and Smiles had recording the album. Another standout track is ‘Hollow Eyes’, which takes on serious issues such as the drug and slave industry of Kings Cross and Thailand.

The crew are now partway through their national tour, with a Brisbane stop scheduled for this weekend. Hopefully they’ll be able to recapture the magic they experienced in Brisbane last time. “It was one of our favourite stops on the last tour; the Beetle Bar is really cosy and intimate.”

When asked what local fans can expect from their show, Smiles is infectiously enthusiastic. â€œA wild night! We have a live band, and the drummer gees us up, which the crowd likes. Every night we set out to have an adventure, to create a new memory. We just want to party with the locals.”

Mind Over Matter are also branching out into the corporate world, by lining up a few syncs (when a television show uses a band’s song as the background music). “It’s just another way for us to get our name out there,” which suggests a strategic side to the creative process, handy if you are keen to take over the world.

Mind Over Matter are performing at the Beetle Bar on May 7. ‘Just Like Fireworks’ is available now.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011 13:36

Sgt Slick

Will Have An Asahi

With a decade’s worth of experience under his belt as a DJ, producer, label owner and radio show host, Andy J aka Sgt Slick has earned the respect of the industry, including an ARIA win.

Running a record label makes you realise...That you’d much rather be sitting in a studio than behind a desk.

When Andy J and Sgt Slick cross paths in the club, the result is... Probably like the scene from ‘Fight Club’ where Edward Norton is having a fist fight with himself.

My ‘98 ARIA for Best Dance Release resides... In a box. I just moved and haven’t unpacked it yet.

DJing at events like Melbourne Fashion Week and the Australian Grand Prix... Is not as much fun as playing at a club or festival.

In 2011 my musical influences are... My friends and production allies. There’s some serious bigness coming from producers down here at the moment.

Over the years my DJing style has always... Been about the 2 Es: Entertainment then Education.

I find the best way to handle so many DJ monikers is to... Ditch them! It’s Sgt Slick all the way from now on.

Working with the guys at Vicious is always... Harmonious… except when you face John Course on the squash court, where it can get violent.

Sgt Slick’s advice for fame-seeking DJs... Fame comes after acclaim.

Before playing a set, I usually... Make bootlegs, re-edits, and drink Asahi’s.

Sgt Slick plays Vanity Nightclub, Surfers Paradise, February 25.

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